Instrument Support Astronomer

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
Large Binocular Telescope Observatory
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

The Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBTO) operates the 2 x 8.4 m LBT on the 3200 m summit of Mount Graham near Safford, Arizona. Facility instruments include wide-field prime focus optical imagers, multi-object double-beam blue/red optimized optical spectrometers for faint object optical spectroscopy,  near-infrared imager/spectrographs capable of multi-object spectroscopy with cooled custom slit masks and of utilizing the LBT adaptive optics system for high angular resolution imaging and spectroscopy, and a high resolution (up to 250,000) extremely stable fiber-fed dual-beam optical spectrograph in an environmentally controlled chamber.  In addition, a near-infrared beam combiner and interferometer exploits the 23 m baseline of the LBT when combined with the adaptive optics system.  Over the next two years, three additional instruments that utilize the adaptive optics system will be commissioned and brought into routine use for high angular resolution, high contrast visible and near-infrared measurements and for extremely high precision radial velocity studies.

The LBTO seeks an Instrument Support Scientist/Astronomer to join a small and energetic instrumentation and science support group.  A fraction of the incumbent's time may be designated for personal research. Instrument Support Scientists primarily work at the LBTO headquarters on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson with occasional support work on the Mount Graham summit. Travel to LBT member institutes in the US and Europe may also be required. 

Candidates with technical and operational experience using adaptive optics systems and their data as well as high resolution optical/IR spectroscopy are especially encouraged to apply. In addition, candidates with experience at 8 m class telescopes supporting wide-field optical imaging, faint object optical multi-object spectroscopy, and infrared imaging and spectroscopy will also be considered.

Duties & Responsibilities

LBTO Instrument Support Scientists are responsible for the operation, calibration, and improvement of the facility instruments; preparation of documentation; support of visiting astronomers using the instruments; quality control assessment; scientific performance monitoring; conducting observation block reviews; performing proposal technical reviews from the members; and operating the instruments for nighttime observation during some member partner science blocks. The Instrument Support Scientists report to the LBTO Head of Science Operations and coordinate their activities with the LBTO technical and mountain support groups.


A PhD or equivalent terminal degree in astronomy, physics, or a related discipline, and minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience (predoctoral and/or postdoctoral) is required.

Instrument Support Scientists are expected to demonstrate broad familiarity with use of modern astronomical instruments for large optical/infrared telescopes; knowledge of observing techniques and experimental design considerations for observational studies; expertise related to astronomical data reduction and quantitative analysis methods; and strong interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written.

The LBTO Community

The Large Binocular Telescope Corporation, representing an international collaboration with partners in Germany, Italy, and the United States, contracts with the University of Arizona for operation of the LBTO. At the LBTO and the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community.

As an Hispanic-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Feb 07
Application Deadline
2023 Mar 15


Joseph Shields, Director